Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

TJ Ford ball hogs in the fourth to kill any chance the Raptors might’ve had

Posted by Arsenalist on March 4, 2008

Toronto Raptors 87, Orlando Magic 102

Rarely are there instances where you can definitively blame a loss on one player but last night the horrid stretch of play by TJ Ford in the fourth quarter undoubtedly killed any shot that the Raptors might have had. Missing Chris Bosh is a lot to overcome against Dwight Howard and the Magic, but the Raptors managed to do that by getting their big gun in foul trouble and making him an essential non-factor for the better part of the game. After surviving the first half thanks to Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker’s hot shooting and after a battling effort in the third quarter, we managed to stay in this one going into the fourth. That’s where Ford took over for the worse.

Now you can look at perennial non-factor and Harry Rosen mannequin Andrea Bargnani’s 2-11 FG and 6 points and surmise that perhaps if a better effort had been put out, the Raptors would’ve handled the Magic rather easily. But his performances have been so inconsistent and the excuses surrounding his play have been so many that we’ve all come to accept him being an inconsequential piece of the Raptors season. To expect anything positive out of him over more than a 1-game stretch is asking too much so let’s leave him on the side. The focus of my anger is Ford. Consider this stretch starting the fourth quarter:

11:27	T.J. Ford makes 14-foot jumper	70-73	 
11:11	Kris Humphries shooting foul (Dwight Howard draws the foul)	70-73	 
11:11	T.J. Ford defensive rebound	70-74	 
10:57	T.J. Ford makes 14-foot jumper	72-74	 
10:42	Jason Kapono defensive rebound	72-74	 
10:33	T.J. Ford bad pass	72-74	 
10:00	T.J. Ford misses 12-foot jumper	72-77	 
9:48	Jason Kapono shooting foul (Dwight Howard draws the foul)	72-77	 
9:36	T.J. Ford misses driving layup	72-78	 
9:15	Toronto full timeout
9:06	T.J. Ford misses 11-foot jumper	72-80	 
8:52	T.J. Ford bad pass (Rashard Lewis steals)	72-80	 
8:45	T.J. Ford makes layup	74-80	 
8:17	T.J. Ford bad pass (Dwight Howard steals)	74-80	 
7:54	T.J. Ford makes 26-foot three point jumper	77-83	 
7:16	T.J. Ford makes 18-foot jumper	79-85	 
6:58	Jamario Moon personal foul (Dwight Howard draws the foul)	79-85	 
6:28	T.J. Ford lost ball (Carlos Arroyo steals)	79-87	 
6:11	Toronto 20 Sec. timeout
5:58	T.J. Ford makes free throw 1 of 2	80-89	 
5:58	T.J. Ford makes free throw 2 of 2

Our starting point guard just tried to do a Michael Jordan impersonation and simply ball-hogged for the first 6:30 of the fourth quarter not allowing any Raptor to take a shot in that span. Sam Mitchell had nailed Calderon to the bench despite him having great success against Jameer Nelson and Carlos Arroyo on almost every possession. Instead of Calderon, Ford started the fourth quarter and practically shot the Raptors out of this game. A 5 point deficit was increased to 11 and to make matters worse 6:30 crucial minutes were shaved off the clock. Two questions: Why didn’t Calderon start the fourth? Why wasn’t TJ yanked after he obviously made the game about him and Carlos Arroyo by looking past his teammates? I’m not saying we would’ve won the game if Calderon had the reigns in the fourth, I’m saying we would’ve had a much better shot at it.

It’s hard to look past the Ford fiasco but let’s move on. Rasho Nesterovic had a very good game, nothing spectacular but he held his position against Howard, hit the glass and got some contested rebounds, he was unfortunate to get called for some fouls and had a couple non-calls go against his way on the other end. However, in the fourth quarter with the game hanging in the balance, Rasho was nowhere to be found guarding Howard who found himself covered by Andrea Bargnani. Howard proceeded to torch Bargnani for 6 straight points where the defense was so bad that even a Grade 8 coach would’ve had a meltdown. The number one rule of defense is to stay between your man and the the basket which Bargnani forgot twice, on the other play Howard eluded him quite easily on the baseline for a hook shot which should’ve been sealed off. That little stretch combined with Ford’s theatrics was the TSN turning point.

I need to give credit to Anthony Parker for playing with his heart on his sleeve, you can tell that this guy wants to win and is looking to compete. 19 points and a team-leading 9 rebounds is no joke for a 2-guard who along with Calderon were the two people who really showed up to play. You never know what you’re going to get on offense with Delfino, today he laid an egg doing 1-7 FG for 4 points but you can look past that because he did manage to snatch 9 rebounds. That’s more than you can say about our starting small forward who on any other team would’ve been benched for his lack of production. No offense to Moon but bad perimeter shooters who struggle to defend and rarely slash to the rim are dime a dozen in the D-League. Perhaps Colangelo should take another peek in the cesspool of D-League talent and see if he can find himself a hungry SF who’s willing to fight it out in the NBA and doesn’t get too comfortable just because the coach seems to have blind faith in him.

The Magic weren’t playing well and the Raptors were staying in the game by taking advantage of Orlando turnovers, cleaning the boards (47-41) and answering back every Orlando run with a few shots of their own. The failing perimeter defense failed again but not to the degree it did against Charlotte or Indiana, or maybe that only appears the case because the Magic only made 8 of their 23 threes. They did shoot 52% and Turkoglu and Lewis proved to be deadly from the perimeter and by going to the rim. Again, with no Bosh in there it’s super-easy for any semi-athletic swingman to drive the lane and take a shit on us. Our perimeter rotations have been poor for three years in a row and our interior rotations have been non-existent. The only reason it’s not glaringly evident more often is because Bosh hides a lot of our problems.

Why am I so pissed off? We weren’t expecting a win here anyway but as we always say, the way you lose matters more than the loss itself.

Miami tomorrow, winnable? Hmmm.

Liners:

* Don’t tell Leo Rautins that Jason Kapono is struggling. He’s not having any of it, No sirree, Bob!. Kapono’s crafty see, he leans in for jumpers and goes 1-4 FG, that’s not struggling, that’s him being multi-dimensional. WTF Leo? We’re not idiots, we can see through your lame ass shit excuses which try to portray Kapono as a half-decent signing and try to ignore the obvious fact that he’s as useless as an appendix.

* Rashard Lewis was begging Sam Mitchell to put Jamario Moon on him so he could show rookie just exactly how you back someone into the post, create space and lay the ball in.

* Do we have any plays? I can’t seem to remember seeing one, everything is freestyling based on whatever pops in your mind. I know ripping on Sam about his X’s and O’s is getting old but the guy doesn’t have any X’s and O’s. Fuck, I’ll even settle for a strategy or a method or a gameplan, anything at this point. Dwight Howard getting in foul trouble was totally unplanned, it just so worked out that the guy picked a few fouls up helping our cause.

* Primoz Brezec gets into the game in the 1st quarter after being chained to the bench until the 3rd against Charlotte? Somebody please explain this to me, really, please explain this to me. How do these subs work? Based on gut feeling?

* Sam should’ve seen that TJ had made this game about himself and was being a detriment to this team and taken him out early in the fourth.

* We lose the season series 2-1, not that it matters. We’ll probably end up playing Orlando in the 3-6 matchup.

17 Responses to “TJ Ford ball hogs in the fourth to kill any chance the Raptors might’ve had”

  1. Wham said

    I missed this game but it was closer than I thought it would be. We did a good job staying close but looks like TJ had one of those fits. Nobody else took a shot for more than half the quarter? Isn’t that a Raptors record?

    Not too upset though because this was a loss all the way. Reading yesterdays post Crank had mentioned starting Delfino. This is the reason why you can’t start him, it’s feast or famine with him, there’s no middle ground. People will disagree but IMHO Moon is more consistent than Delfino.

    Gonna watch the Miami game, in their minds this is a winnable game for them.

  2. RapsFan said

    It’s one of those nights that TJ Ford does where he goes completely out of control and forgets his role. Just looking aside from the one-man play that consumed nearly half of the crucial 4th quarter, he had 7 turnovers in the game which was also costly.

    I don’t think he’s a selfish player, the man can create for himself and opportunities for others, but he tries to do too much by himself at times in hopes to bring the team back and win, and by that, neglects his teammates at times which is even more costly.

    Bottom line is, the game was winnable, the game was close until early 4th quarter where TJ lost his focus and just went on a one-man team against Arroyo (perhaps Arroyo was taunting him causing TJ to keep going after him? I don’t know). Basically the turning points of the game was that and Smitch putting Bargs and Humphries on Howard, not sure what Smitch was thinking, because he easily got passed both of them. Rasho should honestly get these assignments 100%, he is so good at neutralizing them.

    Disappointing from Bargs to be honest. I thought that he would step up in Bosh’s absence, especially when he was playing his natural PF position. He just seems… stiff and not fluent and agile as the likes of Turkolu.

  3. AltRaps said

    I admittedly started watching this game with one eye shut, expecting the worst. By mid 1st quarter, though, both eyes were open. It was like watching the Vinceless Raptors. Spirited, hunkering down. Then Rafer joined the Raptors again and it all went away.

    In the postgame, TJ said that Mitchell told him to be aggressive earlier in the day. That wasn’t aggressive, that was selfish and he imploded. It’s not like he was searching for others and waved them off. Most of those plays you list above he had it in his mind to be a one man wrecking crew..which he was, but for his own team.

    Unlike what Rod Black said about the Raptors trying to steal one, I actually think the Magic did.

  4. john said

    Just a temporary setback in my opinion.

    http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/03/nba-news-20-points-from-chapu-in-bulls.html

    Hey Arsenalist!!! Well done to the Gunners!!!!

  5. Raps Fan said

    i don’t know what tj was thinking and really question smitch at this point. he went small ball again, with howard on the floor, but quickly reversed that decision. calderon needed more minutes, rasho/brezec needed more.

    my buddy brought up a good point last night. he was saying that obviously doesn’t like this team. i mean, he used at least 4 different units (i think i counted 6) in the 4th quarter alone. i can’t accept that he is that bad of a coach. there must be more going on … i hope anyways.

    arse, if moon gets resigned, what kind of contract are you comfortable with? for me, i am thinking 2yr/$4mill, MAX!

  6. khandor said

    After losing tonight’s game @ Miami the losing streak will then have reached 5 games.

    The home games vs Washington & Seattle then become crucial … if the Raptors are to avoid a total ‘Meltdown in March’ … as they’re looking an 0-for Western Conference road trip square in the face after that.

    If Bosh’s injury turns out to be even slightly more serious than it seems to this point – heaven forbid, for Raptors’ fans – this team is then going to be in a dog-fight with the likes of Washington, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Chicago to avoid the #7 & #8 spots in the EC playoffs (match-ups vs Boston, Detroit).

    The next 26 days are going to be exceptionally interesting in Raptorland.

  7. Sam is COY said

    arsenalist > whoah, and YOU actually ARE a TJ supporter. So that’s really telling of his game last night.

    Raps Fan > yeah, it doesn’t really look like he has his mind set on a rotation.

  8. arsenalist said

    Khandor you’re right. If Bosh doesn’t come back we can easily go 0-for ont he Western trip and put real pressure on this team in terms of finishing 7/8 or even making the playoffs. Right now we need Bosh to return ASAP and set things right, it’s clear that without him we are not a good team. The depth on this team is misleading because once you’re past Bosh, the talent level on the squad drops considerably.

    Talk about putting your eggs in one basket.

  9. Sam is COY said

    arsenalist > but didn’t we also go stretches this year and last where we actually played decent w/out CB4?

  10. arsenalist said

    You’re right, in January. When it counts though, we can’t hope to make the playoffs without him. Sure, given a favorable schedule we might be able to play .500 ball for a bit but over the course of 82 games, I don’t think this team could make the playoffs without him. He is our interior defense.

  11. Birdman said

    Did anyone notice that when Bargs was pulled sometime in 3rd quarter, none of the seated players moved over to open a spot for him to sit down? TJ, who was in the middle of the bench, just motioned for him to sit away in the corner. Just thought it was an interesting observation that hints at how Bargs doesn’t really fit in among the team.

  12. antuan_disco said

    Jose Calderón Nº 1
    tj ford = s.h.i.t

  13. arsenalist said

    Hmm..Birdman, I gotta request that in the video thread on RealGM.

  14. […] – Arsenalist […]

  15. Johnn19 said

    Yes TJ was bad/selfish in the 4th qtr, but the real problem was no one but Ap and Jose could put the ball in the ocean.

    Rasho, AB, Moon, Delfino, Kapono 7/36 or 19%. UGLY, no way they win with this kind of effort and TEAM 2/14 from three.

    Hope they like Miami better than Orlando, and remember how to shoot as well as rebound and play defense all in the same game, instead of only one per game.

  16. cuzzy said

    Highlight of the night……..Patrick Esing picking his ear.

    I love T.J. but he was off his rocker……I must be as well cause I gave him the game ball.

    http://cuzoogle.com/2008/03/05/no-magic-for-the-raps/

  17. arsenalist said

    Birdman, here’s that video:

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